10 Insider Tips for Tourists Visiting Pakistan in 2020

Pakistan Tourism
By Hasanijaz - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Are you inspired by the recent global media coverage of Pakistan which termed it Best Travel Destination for 2020 and planning to visit? We have gathered the handiest insider tips to make your trip to Pakistan smooth and hassle-free. Scroll below to find out the Insider Tips for tourists Visiting Pakistan.

Applying for Pakistan Visa

Most of the countries can apply for Pakistan tourist visa online. Visa can be applied online by following the instruction on NADRA website

Pakistan Visa on Arrival (Tourist) Countries List 2020:

If you are national of the following, you are eligible for Pakistani Tourist Visa on arrival.

S.NoName of Country allowed Visa on Arrival in Pakistan
10Costa Rica
19Korea (South)
29New Zealand
34Saint Kitts and Nevis
35Saint Lucia
36Saudi Arabia
39Sri Lanka
45Trinidad & Tobago
49Western Samoa

Moreover, you will need Letter of Invitation from your sponsors or Hotel booking details in Pakistan and that’s it.

Transacting & Currency Exchange

1 USD counts 157.90 PKR. Most of the global credit card works in Pakistan. However, most outlets and markets work on cash transactions and may charge you 2.5% extra if you insist in using credit cards. The policy from Federal Board of Revenue allow the traveler to bring in any amount of cash regardless of the currency. You can find the current open market conversion rates on Forex.pk website

Security & Hotels

Pakistan has faced serious security crises in the past but things have remarkably improved now. Sometime security agencies will require a copy of your travel documents to verify your credentials. Ensure to keep the originals and few photocopies of the documents to avoid unfavorable situations. Check out the registration with Pakistan Police. Pakistan is one of the most misunderstood countries in the world. Recent travelers have all debunked this myth that Pakistan is not safe to travel. Watch out what Gustav Rosted, has to say on the question “Is Pakistan Safe?”

Pakistan Tourism is flourishing and things have got easier when linked through the web. PTDC (Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation) is working actively to facilitate the tourists. Check PTDC to book the motels and get to know about the activities backed by Government across various tourist destinations. PTDC motels are generally well maintained and offer the most economic rates across the famous tourist destinations.

How to Get Mobile Connection as Tourist

Pakistan offers one of the cheapest rates for mobile connections. Both calling and data rates are extremely economic. Try buying a SIM card from UFONE, ZONG, or JAZZ . You can buy SIM card by visiting their franchise that are conveniently located in all cities. Foreign tourists are required to show their passport and travel documents. However, things are quite different as you travel towards the Northern Areas of Pakistan. Hunza-Gilgit Baltistan region does not enjoy extensive coverage from the above mentioned companies. It is best to buy SCOM (SIM card for northern areas) to enjoy 3G and 4G internet in mountains.

Jot down Itinerary

Pakistan is quite diverse in its weather and terrain. You will come across almost every type of weather and tourist destinations (Trekking, Hiking, Cultural, and much more). The best approach would be to settle down with a pen and paper and list all the attractions of Pakistan. Then map out which seems best to you. It will help you to plan your trip accordingly. The Northern areas (mountainous) have limited access in winters. The Southern areas get hot and scorch in summers. Be mindful of these temperature fluctuations.

Respect Cultural Norms

Once you have a list of your visiting points, roll and pack. The locals prefer Shalwar Qameez with the scarf. Consider packing some bandannas and scarfs to get painted in the colors of the nation. It also requires you to dress up in a national dress or loose clothing while visiting a Mosque (Holy Place).

Eating Treats

Oil is the core component of any local cuisine in Pakistan. Watch out what you are eating. Food is not hygienic on some of the road side stalls and hence you should avoid them. It is best to go for bottled water as your stomach is not trained to local microbes when compared to natives. Food Street in Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Peshawar are best to enjoy true flavors of street food of Pakistan. The night buzz of Karachi infused with aromas of all sorts of cuisines will not leave you disappointed.

Welcome the Hospitality

Pakistanis are very amiable and hospitable. They will go to any length to make you feel at home. Do not get surprised by a favor, a gift, or an invitation for dinner.  Shopping in local markets is an experience in itself. Do not settle for the first price as the shopkeepers are open to bargain. Buy regional handicrafts, dry fruits, traditional clothes, and jewelry as a local treat.

Getting Around in Pakistan

Traveling from one city to another can be done via air, train or the bus service. The airfares are generally on higher side and you can travel via bus by booking the bus service. Daewoo is the bus service which covers a wide range of cities. Traveling intra-city is quite a matter of experience as the locals travel by buses and vans. Uber and Careem operate within certain cities of Pakistan. Metro bus service is functional in Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Multan and Lahore.

The other option is to rent a car. You can always hire a driver as he will be the person best accustomed to the local routes. Driving by yourself requires you to be aware of Pakistan traffic rules. In case you want to drive yourself, you will require a valid driving license by your country of residence.

What to not miss out?

Keep in mind that Pakistan is very economical compared to most other travel destinations across the globe. Check our what Drewbinsky, a global traveler has to say about Pakistan in his video post titled “Why is Everything Free in Pakistan?”

Last but not the least, an important Insider Tips tourists Visiting Pakistan is that call of nature cannot be avoided and what if you are not provided with essentials? The brainy solution is to pack tissue paper and hand sanitizers in the backpack. Also pharmacies are available in every nook and corner of the country but better to keep few essential medicines in your backpack. Diarrhea is a common stomach problem. Prepare for it in advance. Government and private hospitals are available across the country but quality will not be same when you go to remote mountainous areas. A good health insurance would cover you but keep in mind that a visit to a good private doctor will not cost you much.

Now Visiting Pakistan will be easier for you with our Insider Tips for tourists visiting Pakistan. Please share your feedback.

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